With so much choice available, the question remains: what are the best airlines to fly to South America? Our guide is here to help. Using our extensive industry knowledge, we’ve compiled a list of 10 of the best South American airlines, originating from airports in the UK, US, and beyond. Keep reading to discover them!
South America is a continent alive with pulsating rhythms. It’s awe-inspiring landscapes, and tales as old as time, has always been a siren call for globetrotters. From the towering Andes mountains to the vibrant streets of Rio de Janeiro, every corner of this land offers a unique story waiting to be told. Embarking on a South American escapade is an experience like no other, and the journey begins with choosing the right airline. With so many airlines that fly to South America, how do you pick the best one?
Imagine soaring over the vast Amazon rainforest, anticipating your arrival in a city where history and modernity coexist. Be it dancing the tango in Buenos Aires, unveiling the secrets of Machu Picchu, or lounging on Brazil‘s golden beaches, South America promises a myriad of adventures.
So, gear up and let your travel dreams soar! The right airline can elevate your travel experience, which makes the journey as memorable as the destination itself. Dive in to uncover ten of the best airlines to fly to South America that promise a seamless flight to this mesmerizing continent!
Quick tip to find cheap flights to South America
Looking for cheap flights to South America right now? Before diving into all the airlines that fly to South America, I first want to share a quick tip on how to save money on airfare.
For the past 3 years, I’ve used Scott’s Cheap Flights (now called Going) to get amazing flight deals. All you have to do is enter your home airport and where you want to go, and from there, they’ll send you mistake fares and other ridiculously cheap flight deals. And the coolest part? It’s 100% FREE! In 2023, I’ve saved thousands of dollars from their email alerts. This includes most recently, a $222 roundtrip fare from Boston to Cartagena.
There’s a free and a premium version – the free one has pretty much everything you’ll need. Though if you’re like me and travel a lot every year, it’s worth upgrading to the paid version for $49 per year. In my experience, you’ll get your money back after finding just one discounted flight! As such, I recommend signing up for the free trial (you can cancel at any time) to try it for yourself. And if you like it, be sure to use my coupon code JON20 to save 20%!
Now without further ado, here are the best South America flights in 2023.
As the largest airline group in Latin America, LATAM stands out as one of the best airlines to go to South America. Born from the merger of LAN Airlines and TAM Airlines, this airline giant has its roots deeply embedded in the continent. With hubs in major cities like Santiago, Lima, and São Paulo, LATAM ensures you’re well-connected to every nook and cranny of South America.
Diving deeper into the LATAM experience, passengers often rave about the warm hospitality and attentive service from the crew. The airline takes pride in showcasing South American culture, from the in-flight meals inspired by regional cuisines to the cabin interiors reflecting local designs.
The in-flight entertainment system is a traveler’s delight. Apart from the latest blockbusters and chart-topping music, it offers documentaries showcasing the beauty and diversity of South American destinations – a perfect appetizer before you land.
For the eco-conscious traveler, LATAM has made significant strides in sustainability. They’ve launched initiatives to reduce carbon emissions and have also been involved in reforestation projects in the Amazon.
Travelers keen on maximizing their budget will appreciate LATAM’s frequent flyer program, LATAM Pass. Earning points is a breeze, and they can be redeemed for flights, upgrades, or even experiences in various South American cities.
To wrap it up, LATAM is a gateway to the wonders of South America. With its extensive network, commitment to service, and passion for the continent, it’s no wonder travelers rank it high on their list of the best airlines to go to South America.
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Flying the skies since 1919, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines has earned its reputation as one of the best international airlines to South America. Hailing from the picturesque city of Amsterdam, KLM has always had a special connection with the South American continent.
One of the standout features of KLM is its extensive network from its primary hub, Amsterdam Airport Schiphol. For those in Europe, especially from the Netherlands, KLM offers direct flights to a plethora of South American destinations. Cities like Bogotá, Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro, and Lima are just a direct flight away. This makes KLM a top choice for European travelers eager to explore the vibrant cultures and landscapes of South America.
Onboard a KLM flight, passengers are treated to a blend of Dutch hospitality and global flair. The in-flight meals often feature a fusion of European and South American cuisines. This gives travelers a taste of their destination even before they land. And for those long flights? KLM’s entertainment system is packed with movies, shows, and music from around the world, ensuring hours of entertainment.
KLM’s commitment to sustainability is also noteworthy. The airline has been at the forefront of adopting fuel-efficient aircraft and exploring sustainable aviation fuels. It’s a favorite among eco-conscious travelers.
For the savvy traveler, KLM’s Flying Blue loyalty program is a goldmine. Not only can you earn miles on flights, but every purchase, be it hotel stays, car rentals, or even shopping, can bring you closer to your next adventure. And the rewards? They’re not just limited to flight upgrades or free tickets. Think exclusive lounge access in bustling airports, priority boarding, and even curated experiences in South American cities. With KLM, every journey becomes a story worth telling.
Avianca, the flag carrier of Colombia, has been a beacon for travelers seeking the best airlines from the US to South America. With a history spanning over a century, Avianca is the second oldest airline in the world. Its experience shows in every aspect of its service.
Originating from the heart of Bogotá, Avianca’s routes paint a comprehensive map across South America. From the sultry beats of Cali to the architectural wonders of Quito, Avianca ensures that the continent’s gems are within easy reach. And for those in North America? Direct flights from major US cities make hopping over to South America a breeze.
Step onboard an Avianca flight, and you’re instantly enveloped in a world of warmth and vibrant colors, reminiscent of the lively streets of Medellín or Cartagena. The airline’s commitment to passenger comfort is evident in its spacious seating. This is especially evident in business class where lie-flat seats and gourmet meals await.
One of Avianca’s standout features is its in-flight entertainment. Beyond the usual movies and music, they offer a selection of Latin American films and tunes. This is perfect for immersing oneself in the region’s rich culture.
Seeking cheap flights to South America? Avianca frequently unveils promotions, and here’s an insider tip: LifeMiles members often get early access to the best deals and seat selections, which makes the loyalty program a must for frequent travelers.
Wrapping it up, did you know Avianca was one of the first airlines to introduce onboard Wi-Fi on South American routes? This commitment to innovation, combined with its deep-rooted history, ensures every flight is not only comfortable but also cutting-edge.
For Canadian travelers, Air Canada stands out, consistently ranked among the best airlines to travel to South America. As Canada’s largest airline, Air Canada bridges the vast expanse between the snowy terrains of Canada and the diverse landscapes of South America with grace and efficiency.
From its major hubs in Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal, Air Canada offers direct flights to several key South American destinations. Cities like São Paulo, Bogotá, Lima, and Santiago are easily accessible. It’s incredibly convenient for Canadians to embark on a South American adventure.
Onboard, the experience is unmistakably Canadian. Warm hospitality, bilingual services (English and French), and a touch of Canadian charm define every flight. The in-flight entertainment boasts a mix of international hits and Canadian favorites. It’s perfect for those wanting a taste of home while venturing abroad.
Air Canada’s commitment to sustainability is commendable. The airline has been proactive in adopting fuel-saving measures and supporting environmental initiatives, reflecting Canada’s ethos of caring for the planet.
Here’s a tip for Canadian travelers: Joining the Aeroplan loyalty program can be a game-changer. Not only do members earn miles on flights, but there are also exclusive deals and perks, especially for South American routes.
In the realm of pricing, Air Canada offers a spectrum. While the economy class is designed for affordability without compromising on comfort, the Signature Class is the epitome of luxury, featuring gourmet meals, spacious seating, and premium amenities.
A noteworthy fact: Air Canada was the first North American airline to fly the state-of-the-art Boeing 787 Dreamliner, enhancing the travel experience with larger windows, quieter cabins, and advanced air systems.
For Canadians seeking a seamless flight to South America, Air Canada is the top pick.
For those who believe that the journey is as important as the destination, Air France offers an unparalleled experience, especially with its exclusive La Première class. Offering one of the best business class to South America, La Première is the epitome of French elegance and luxury in the skies.
Air France, with its primary hub in Paris, connects Europe to major South American cities like Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro, and Bogotá. But it’s not just about the destinations; it’s about how you get there. La Première offers individual suites, ensuring privacy and comfort. Travelers can indulge in gourmet meals curated by Michelin-starred chefs, relax in a lie-flat bed with high-quality linens, and enjoy personalized attention from dedicated cabin crew.
Aside from La Première, Air France’s in-flight entertainment is a treat, boasting a diverse selection of movies, music, and games. The airline also offers a unique “Travel by Air France” guide. This provides insider tips and recommendations for various South American destinations.
For those on the hunt for deals, keep an eye on Air France’s Flying Blue loyalty program promotions. Special offers and flash sales are frequently rolled out, offering significant discounts on award tickets. Additionally, consider booking during off-peak seasons or exploring package deals that include flights, accommodations, and car rentals.
While La Première is a premium offering, Air France also caters to travelers with varying budgets. Their economy and premium economy classes provide comfort and value, ensuring a pleasant journey for all.
With Air France, travelers don’t just fly to South America. They embark on a luxurious journey, experiencing the best of French hospitality and aviation excellence.
Dive into the world of Iberia, and you’re immediately transported to the sun-soaked streets of Spain. As the nation’s flagship carrier, Iberia promises an immersive Spanish experience from the moment you step onboard.
From its base at Madrid-Barajas Adolfo Suárez Airport, Iberia serves as one of the best airlines that fly to South America. Cities like Quito, with its rich colonial history, or Montevideo, where the tango rhythm fills the air, are directly accessible from Madrid.
Iberia’s commitment to showcasing Spanish culture is evident in every flight detail. The in-flight menu offers a culinary fiesta featuring paella, tapas, and other Spanish delights. The airline’s entertainment system boasts a rich collection of Spanish cinema, from Almodóvar’s classics to contemporary hits.
For the savvy traveler, Iberia’s “Iberia Plus” loyalty program is a gem. Aside from the usual perks, members often enjoy exclusive access to events in South American cities, from tango shows in Buenos Aires to wine tastings in Chile‘s vineyards.
A lesser-known fact about Iberia is its special program dedicated to the transport of live animals, ensuring they travel safely and comfortably to South American destinations.
In choosing Iberia, travelers opt for an airline that values its roots, celebrates its culture, and goes the extra mile (literally and figuratively) for its passengers.
Qatar Airways, renowned globally for its opulence and service, is often hailed as one of the best airlines to go to South America. With a commitment to luxury, this airline ensures that every moment, from boarding to landing, exudes elegance and sophistication.
Direct flights to South American jewels like São Paulo and Buenos Aires originate from the airline’s state-of-the-art hub, Hamad International Airport in Doha. This strategic location not only connects the East to the West but also offers travelers from Asia, Europe, and Africa seamless access to South America.
The luxury experience begins even before boarding. First and Business Class passengers can unwind or work in the plush Al Mourjan Business Lounge in Doha, which spans over 10,000 square meters and offers spa treatments, private workstations, and gourmet dining.
Once onboard, the extravagance continues. The Qsuite, Qatar Airways’ signature Business Class experience, offers private suites with doors, allowing passengers to enjoy unparalleled privacy. The seats transform into flat beds, and the on-demand à la carte menu lets passengers dine whenever they wish. Hands down, it’s the choice for those looking for the best business class to South America.
Qatar Airways offers a unique “Stopover Program” with longer layovers in Doha. Travelers can explore the city, stay in luxury hotels, and even embark on desert safaris or museum tours, turning a layover into a mini-vacation.
While Qatar Airways emphasizes luxury, they frequently roll out promotions and deals, especially for their Privilege Club members. As such, the premium experience is accessible to many.
With Qatar Airways, the journey to South America becomes as memorable as the destination itself, with every detail meticulously crafted for the discerning traveler.
Looking for the best airlines to South America? This has to be one of them. American Airlines is an emblem of American spirit and determination. For many, it stands out as the best airline to fly into South America from the U.S.
From the bustling streets of New York to the serene beaches of Miami, American Airlines takes off from iconic U.S. cities, setting its sights on South America’s vibrant landscapes. Imagine departing from the heart of Texas in Dallas and touching down amidst the samba beats of Rio de Janeiro or the majestic Andes surrounding Santiago.
But here’s where American Airlines truly differentiates itself: its commitment to making flying a personal experience. Ever tried the Flagship First Dining? It’s a culinary journey, with dishes inspired by the very destinations the airline flies to. And for those who love a good movie, the airline’s entertainment system often features exclusive previews. You can catch blockbusters before they hit the theaters!
For the frequent fliers, a word of advice: delve deep into the AAdvantage loyalty program. Beyond the usual perks, there are hidden gems like exclusive events, behind-the-scenes tours, and even private concerts at some of South America’s most iconic venues.
And if you’re flying out of Miami, carve out some time to explore the Admirals Club. With its art-deco inspired interiors and curated menu, it’s a slice of Miami’s charm right within the airport.
Wrapping up with a fun fact: Did you know American Airlines operates a flight that’s among the top 10 longest flights globally? Their Dallas to Hong Kong route is a testament to their expansive reach and ambition.
For UK travelers, British Airways represents a familiar and trusted winged emblem, guiding them to distant shores. As the UK’s flagship carrier, it’s often the first choice for Brits seeking the best flight to South America.
Departing from London Heathrow, British Airways offers direct routes to major South American destinations. From the iconic skyline of São Paulo to the bustling streets of Buenos Aires, the airline ensures that the wonders of South America are just a flight away for UK residents.
British Airways’ Club World offers a refined flying experience, perfect for those long-haul flights. With spacious lie-flat beds, privacy screens, and a dedicated Club Kitchen for mid-flight snacks, it’s the epitome of British elegance.
A unique offering for UK travelers is the British Airways Holidays program. This service allows passengers to bundle their flights with hotel stays, car rentals, and even experiences, often at a discounted rate. It’s an excellent way for travelers to streamline their holiday planning.
For those keen on maximizing their air miles, the Executive Club loyalty program is a must-join. Avios, the program’s currency, can be spent on flights, upgrades, and even hotel stays. A tip for the savvy traveler: Look out for the regular Avios sales, where you can purchase miles at a discount.
British Airways was one of the first European airlines to offer a direct flight to Chile’s capital, Santiago. As such, it’s a pioneer in connecting the UK to the farther reaches of South America. With British Airways, UK travelers can embark on a South American journey with a touch of British class and comfort.
Delta Air Lines, a titan in the aviation industry, is a top choice for travelers seeking the best airlines from the US to South America. With its vast network and commitment to service, Delta ensures that South America is within easy reach for its passengers.
Operating from major U.S. hubs like Atlanta, New York, and Los Angeles, Delta offers many direct flights to South America. Whether it’s the carnival spirit of Rio de Janeiro, the architectural wonders of Lima, or the tango-filled streets of Buenos Aires, Delta has a flight that connects you directly to the action.
Onboard, Delta’s commitment to passenger comfort and entertainment is evident. The Delta One suite, available on select South American routes, offers a premium experience with lie-flat seats, direct aisle access, and a personalized in-flight service. For those looking to stay connected or binge-watch their favorite series, Delta’s in-flight Wi-Fi and entertainment system have you covered.
A standout feature of Delta is the SkyMiles program. Not only can travelers earn miles on flights, but they can also accrue them through everyday activities like dining or shopping. And for those looking to splurge on their next South American adventure, the miles can be redeemed for experiences like wine tasting in Mendoza or a guided tour of Machu Picchu.
Travelers with a layover can indulge in the Delta Sky Club, where they can relax, work, or dine in a serene environment. With locations in major U.S. airports, it’s the perfect oasis before your South American escapade.
I’ve flown with Delta multiple times and can attest to the quality. Their dedication ensures that every journey feels personal, making it one of the best airlines to travel to South America.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the Best Airlines to Fly to South America
If you’re still curious about what airlines fly to South America, here are some common questions that might help you decide.
Choosing the best airline to fly to South America largely depends on your preferences and starting point. Here are some top contenders:
- LATAM: Known for its extensive network across South America.
- Qatar Airways: Offers a luxury experience with its Qsuite.
- British Airways: A top choice for UK travelers.
- Delta: Renowned for its excellent service and frequent flights from the US.
Several airlines offer direct flights to South America from the US. Some of the prominent ones include:
- American Airlines: Major routes from Miami, Dallas, and New York.
- Delta: Connects key US cities to major South American destinations.
- LATAM: Offers direct flights from Miami, New York, and Los Angeles.
The best place to fly into South America largely depends on your travel goals, budget, and the destinations you plan to visit. However, several major cities serve as primary international gateways to the continent, offering good connectivity, numerous flight options, and often competitive airfares. Here are some of the top entry points:
- São Paulo, Brazil (São Paulo–Guarulhos International Airport – GRU): As the largest city in South America, São Paulo is a major hub for flights from North America, Europe, Africa, and Asia. The airport is well-connected to other parts of Brazil and the continent.
- Bogotá, Colombia (El Dorado International Airport – BOG): Centrally located in the northern part of the continent, Bogotá serves as a significant hub, especially for travelers coming from North America and Europe.
- Lima, Peru (Jorge Chávez International Airport – LIM): Lima is a primary gateway for those looking to explore the Andean region, including Machu Picchu. It offers good connectivity to North America, Europe, and other parts of South America.
- Buenos Aires, Argentina (Ministro Pistarini International Airport – EZE): As the capital of Argentina, Buenos Aires is a major entry point for travelers from Europe, North America, and Oceania.
- Santiago, Chile (Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport – SCL): Santiago is strategically located for those coming from the Pacific, including flights from Oceania and Asia, as well as North America and Europe.
- Caracas, Venezuela (Simón Bolívar International Airport – CCS): While Venezuela has faced political and economic challenges, Caracas remains an entry point, especially for regional travel.
- Quito, Ecuador (Mariscal Sucre International Airport – UIO): Quito is a gateway for those heading to the Galápagos Islands and offers connections to major cities in the Americas.
Yes, several airlines offer direct flights to South America from the UK:
- British Airways: Direct routes to cities like São Paulo, Buenos Aires, and Rio de Janeiro from London.
- LATAM: Direct flights from London to São Paulo.
- Iberia: Offers routes from London to various South American cities via Madrid.
Finding cheap South America flights can be an art in itself. Here are some comprehensive strategies to help you snag those deals:
- Flight Comparison Websites: Platforms like Skyscanner, Kayak, and Momondo aggregate flight prices from various airlines and booking sites. This allows you to compare and choose the most economical option.
- Flexible Travel Dates: Prices can vary significantly from one day to another. If you have flexibility in your travel dates, use the “whole month” search feature on flight comparison sites to see which days offer the cheapest fares.
- Incognito Mode: Some believe that flight prices increase if you repeatedly search for the same route. Browsing in incognito or private mode can prevent this potential price hike.
- Consider Nearby Airports: Sometimes, flying into a smaller airport near your final destination can be cheaper. For instance, if you’re heading to Rio, check flights to São Paulo as well, and then take a domestic flight or other transport to Rio.
- Sign Up for Fare Alerts: Many flight comparison sites and airlines offer fare alerts. By setting up notifications, you’ll be informed when there’s a price drop for your desired route.
- Airline Loyalty Programs and Credit Card Points: Joining airline loyalty programs can earn you miles for each flight, which can be redeemed for ticket purchases. Similarly, some credit cards offer points for every purchase, which can be converted into flight tickets or upgrades.
- Last-Minute Deals: While it’s generally advised to book in advance, some airlines offer last-minute deals to fill up unsold seats. If you’re spontaneous, this could be a way to find cheap tickets.
- Going (formerly Scott’s Cheap Flights): This service sends out email alerts for deeply discounted flights, including deals to South America. By subscribing, you can get notifications of limited-time offers and mistake fares.
Which airlines fly to South America?
Many airlines fly to South America, both from within the continent and from international destinations. Here’s a list of some major airlines that operate flights to South America:
Major South American Airlines:
- LATAM Airlines Group: The largest airline in South America, resulting from the merger of LAN Airlines and TAM Airlines.
- Avianca: Based in Colombia, it’s one of the oldest airlines in the world and serves many destinations within South America and beyond. 3. Gol Linhas Aéreas: A major Brazilian airline that offers extensive routes within Brazil and to neighboring countries.
- Aerolíneas Argentinas: The national carrier of Argentina, serving both domestic and international routes.
- Azul Brazilian Airlines: Another significant player in Brazil, offering both domestic and international flights.
- TAME: The national airline of Ecuador, serving various destinations within the country and abroad.
- Boliviana de Aviación (BoA): Bolivia’s flag carrier, offering flights within Bolivia and to select international destinations.
Major International Airlines Flying to South America:
- American Airlines: Offers numerous flights to South American destinations from its hubs in the U.S.
- Delta Air Lines: Connects several U.S. cities to major South American destinations.
- United Airlines: Has a strong presence in South America, connecting from its U.S. hubs.
- Air Canada: Connects Canadian cities to major South American hubs.
- Iberia: The Spanish airline has several routes connecting Europe to South America.
- British Airways: Connects London to several South American cities.
- Lufthansa: The German airline offers flights from Europe to various South American destinations.
- Air France: Connects Paris to several major cities in South America.
- KLM: The Dutch airline has routes from Amsterdam to South American destinations.
- Qantas: The Australian airline offers flights to Santiago, Chile, from Sydney.
Typically, the off-peak season, which is the South American winter (June to August), might offer cheaper flight options. However, it’s always good to monitor flight prices and book when you find a deal, as promotions can pop up throughout the year.
Why are flights so expensive to South America?
Flights to South America can be expensive for several reasons. Here are some reasons why flights to South America might be on the pricier side:
- Distance and Fuel Costs: For travelers coming from places like Europe, Asia, or Oceania, the sheer distance to South America can result in higher fuel costs, which are often passed on to the consumer.
- Limited Competition: In some routes, especially less popular ones, there might be limited competition among airlines. Fewer airlines operating on a route can lead to higher prices.
- Airport and Landing Fees: Airports in some South American countries charge higher landing and operational fees, which can increase the overall ticket price.
- Taxes: Some countries in South America impose higher taxes on international flights, which can contribute to the overall cost.
- Seasonality: Just like any other destination, flights to South America can become more expensive during peak tourist seasons or major events.
- Economic Factors: Currency fluctuations, inflation rates, and other economic factors in both the departure and destination countries can influence flight prices.
- Limited Direct Flights: Depending on your departure city, there might be limited direct flights to your desired destination in South America, requiring you to take connecting flights, which can sometimes be more expensive.
- Demand: If there’s high demand for flights and limited seat availability, prices are likely to rise. This is basic supply and demand economics.
- Operational Costs: Airlines have to consider various operational costs, including crew wages, maintenance, and services, which can be higher for long-haul flights.
Traveling to South America offers a kaleidoscope of experiences, from the rhythmic beats of samba to the breathtaking vistas of the Andes. Choosing the right airline can elevate this journey, turning it from a mere trip into a cherished memory. Each airline brings its unique flavor, amenities, and routes, catering to diverse traveler needs.
For those with a penchant for luxury, options like Qatar Airways or Air France’s La Premiere provide an unparalleled experience. For travelers seeking budget-friendly getaway to South America, on the other hand, can still find comfort and convenience with airlines like Delta and American Airlines. The key is to research, compare, and stay updated on the best flights to South America.
Subscribing to fare alert services, such as Going (formerly Scott’s Cheap Flights), can be a game-changer. This notifies you of limited-time offers and mistake fares. Loyalty programs and credit card points further open doors to savings and upgrades. Moreover, being flexible with travel dates and considering nearby airports can lead to surprising discounts.
In the end, the journey to South America is a blend of anticipation, adventure, and discovery. With the right airline and a few smart strategies, you’re set to embark on an unforgettable voyage, all while ensuring your wallet remains happy.